Thursday 6 January 2022

So where is the help that the Chancellor promised the hospitality industry?

 Do you remember that big announcement by Rishi Sunak that businesses in the hospitality industry would be getting grants to assist with the problems caused by the latest round of Coronavirus rules etc? That was back on the 21st December. Since then, many businesses (such as us) have had to pay VAT bills, rent and business rates are due any time now. In short, things are difficult. My business had a negative cash flow in December. Many artists booked rehearsals for Xmas and New Year shows. These were booked and paid for months in advance to ensure slots were secured. As Omicron hit and the govt discouraged us from getting together and  having parties, etc, we had mass cancellations galore. We had two weeks of negative cashflow as we processed numerous refunds. As the artists had no income coming in, they had no choice but to claim refunds rather than credits. The pubs and clubs they were playing at lost a huge amount in what should be the best time of the year. In short, the whole sector took a massive kicking?

Now the bills are rolling in for all of us. We've been left high and dry. I've been checking on a daily basis to see what Barnet are doing to pay this. This is the relevant page on their website. It says

New grant for businesses affected by Omicron

On 21 December 2021 government announced a new grant scheme to support hospitality and leisure businesses that are experiencing difficulties because of the Omicron variant.

Hospitality and leisure premises, including accommodation, food and beverage services will benefit from targeted grant support.

We are waiting for guidance from government and will provide further updates when we can.

As you can see, as of today 6/1/2021 at 3pm, Barnet still do not know what is going on. It is all very well saying support will be available, but businesses need it now, to pay bills, not at some date far off in the future. We have landlords to pay, utility bills, staff costs and we have no idea how much or what the criteria are to qualify. I can understand that it takes a few days to sort the details out, but many businesses are going to the wall. Sad to see that the Windmill in Cricklewood is the latest local casualty of the pandemic. 

The bottom line is that it is pointless promising aid, if it is not forthcoming. I've been a critic of Barnet Council but they have been most decent with our business with support during the pandemic. It is a shame that the Govt have not got their act together.

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